Sankara’s Ghost: Campaoré begs for forgiveness 

Former president Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso has apologized to the family of his predecessor and slain friend, Thomas Sankara. 

At last! Yes, at last…

Campaoré, ousted from power in a popular revolt in 2014, was recently sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the 1987 assassination of Sankara. In an apology read by government spokesman Lionel Bilgo, Campaoré said, “I ask the Burkinabe people for forgiveness for all the acts I may have committed during my tenure, and especially the family of my brother and friend Thomas Sankara”. This comes after his return to the country in early July. 

Was he arrested? 

No, he wasn’t. Campaoré had fled to Cote D’Ivoire after he was forced out of power in 2014, and had taken Ivorian citizenship, which prevented his extradition after the life sentence in April, 2022. His return, the first since 2014, was after the country’s military leader Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba invited him in the name of “national reconciliation”. 

While expressing “deep gratitude” to Burkina Faso’s military-dominated transitional government, Campaoré said, “I take responsibility for and regret from the bottom of my heart, all the suffering and tragedies experienced by all victims during my terms as leader of the country and ask their families to grant me their forgiveness”. His visit, however, triggered an outcry from civil society groups and political parties, who insisted that uniting the nation should not come with immunity from punishment.

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